If you know me at ALL, you know that I like food. A lot. I actually get in a pretty impressive funk if my schedule’s too hectic for me to cook, and grocery stores are a central element in any tourism I undertake. But if you’ve talked to me about food ever, you also know that my tastes are varied while my options are somewhat constricted, what with being gluten-free, dairy-free and vegetarian. Even so, there are scads of great things out there to eat that fit the bill. And few things make me happier than sharing food (who said you can’t trust a skinny cook?), even if it’s just recipes or recommendations. Thus, instead of any wry social observations, I’ll share my Valentine’s love with you by posting my current six foods/dishes/recipes that I would sneakily try to force on you if you came to visit me, and their accompanying photos:
1) Guacakale – I stole (and dare I say, improved) this idea from the Whole Foods salad bar. The name is exactly what it implies: guacamole + kale. Filling, easy, raw, and delicious.
2) Snobby Joes – from Veganomicon. Total comfort food if you grew up eating the occasional sloppy joes, as I did. Thinking about it now, ground beef in a can just sounds vile, but there’s really no other flavor like it. The Snobby Joes filling is good hot or cold (though I do recommend following their instructions and letting the flavors meld for a few minutes after you mix in the final few ingredients but before you eat the stuff). And if you’re feeling adventurous, it’s pretty good in a slightly wilted/steamed collard leaf used in place of a tortilla to make a “sloppy burrito” of sorts. Be warned: eat those by yourself. They are messy.
3) Kale chips – insanely easy to make, and even a friend who claims to have the eating habits of a five-year-old ate a few and attested to the fact that these taste sort of like potato chips. In a good way.
4) Carrot-Beet Salad – also very easy to make (noticing a trend here?). This had its genesis in a “what on earth can I do with this one lonely beet?” moment. Results? Pleasantly surprising.
5) Anything from the Babycakes NYC cookbook (but especially the Pumpkin Spice Muffins)
6) Avocado chocolate pudding – Don’t be deterred by the fact that avocado is the base for this dessert. Its flavor is not really detectable, and if you’re craving something really sweet, I use this recipe (and even had to scale back the agave to taste).
And an added bonus that requires no recipe and really no equipment to enjoy: raspberry blood oranges. They might be hard to find, but if you have a co-op or independent natural foods store nearby, you may be in luck. They do have seeds, to my dismay, but not too many, and it’s SO worth it both for the tangy sweetness and the simply stunning deep magenta color of the flesh. (If you’re in the Central Jersey area, Basil Bandwagon in Flemington has consistently had them since about December. Not only is that store dangerously close to where I work (dangerous for my wallet, that is), but the people there are so gosh-darned nice. Go! Buy oranges!)
(I debated including recipes for numbers 1, 2 & 4. If you’re interested, let me know and I’ll update the post to include them. I’m all about sharing the wealth when it comes to things edible.)